PORTAGE | The match-up is the same.
Portage coach Gary Hayes is just hoping for a different result.
For the fourth straight year, the Portage Sectional will be decided between Valparaiso and the host Indians. The Vikings have won 16 titles in succession, dating back to 1996, including three straight against Portage in the finals.
"It’s been pretty much the same matchup," Hayes said. "This is my fourth year, and (when I started coaching here) we were in the bottom of the Duneland. Last year, we played Valpo in a real competitive match. We feel really good about where we are."
The Indians (17-2) topped Wheeler 3-2 while Valpo rolled over Chesterton 5-0.
“When I saw (Wheeler’s) lineup was the same when we played them at Wheeler, I thought we were going to be pretty strong today at two and three singles,” Hayes said.
Portage's win over the Bearcats was by the same score as earlier this season. No. 2 singles player John Fannin defeated Sean Lewis 6-0, 6-1 and Zach Smith won 6-1, 6-2 over Trent Foster at No. 3 singles. Portage’s other win came at No. 2 doubles with Chris Klenk and CJ Haupt winning 6-2, 6-3 over Aleksa Todorovic and Matt Houghteling. Klenk and Haupt improved their record to 22-1.
Wheeler’s Jack Hibbard defeated Jeff McElfresh 6-4, 6-1 at No. 1 singles, while its No. 1 doubles team of Drew Heinold and Lucas Jessen won 6-3, 6-1 over Patrick Derr and Trent Foster.
“We made a shift in our lineup about halfway through season, I moved my No. 2 singles player (Heinold) to one doubles, and they haven’t lost since,” Wheeler coach Mike Rosta said. "It just took us a while to figure out the right lineup."
The Vikings (13-2) didn’t drop a game at No. 1 or No. 2 singles against Chesterton (8-9). Ben Kalisch and Marty Pochop won 6-0, 6-0 against Michael Clemens and Trey Mofftt, respectively, in matches that took less than an hour.
“They’re two seniors and they just always try to get a great start on it,” Valparaiso coach Tim Shideler said. "They’re pretty dominating players and real aggressive. That’s what they did again today."
Valparaiso’s other three spots saw close first sets, before they took control in the second. No. 3 singles player Eric Cender won 6-4, 6-2 over Zac Nabhan. No. 1 doubles team Jared Folke and Peter Williams defeated Christian O’Brien and Ryan Sears 6-4, 6-3 and Pall Baggett and Domonkos Szabo won 6-4, 6-1 over Remy Hoang and Brent Sergent at No. 2 doubles.